Work husband: My wife is going away with her close work friend—should I worry?

Help! My Wife Is Going on a Fun-Filled Trip With Her “Work Husband.”

Help! My Wife Is Going on a Fun-Filled Trip With Her “Work Husband.”

Advice on manners and morals.
Feb. 23 2012 6:00 AM

Temptation Island

My wife is taking a fun-filled trip with her “work husband.” Will they cheat?

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Dear Confused,
Almost everyone needs the job. Most people are in the workplace because the paycheck is necessary to support themselves and often others. Better candidates for the job also could have told you how necessary this position was for them and their dependents. Your first mistake was your poor hiring choice. You say he’s trying, and your obligation is to give him as much assistance as possible in the time remaining. If after that he still just doesn’t get it, do not compound your error by making him a permanent employee as you sail out the door saying, “Good luck, suckers!” You may feel no loyalty to the company, but presumably you also need a paycheck. So it’s not a good idea for you to saddle your former company with an incompetent you vouched for. If this guy is as bad as you say, the company will ultimately get rid of him. Then think of your potential employers possibly getting an earful from your former colleagues about your judgment. Be direct and honest with the assistant. Then if you have to let him know you’re letting him go, it will be painful, but no surprise.


Dear Prudence,
I have a wonderful cleaning woman. She does a great job and I pay her well. There's just one thing. Right before she leaves my house, she makes a big stinky poop that renders the powder room gaggingly unusable for a few hours, despite my opening windows, turning on the fan, and setting out candles. The powder room is on the first floor of the house, and I work from my home office right across from it, so this is an issue. I'm not the type of person who doesn't let guests or repair people use her bathroom, and I certainly wouldn't think anything of it if it happened only once in a while. The paranoid part of me thinks she's doing it as a passive-aggressive Occupy the Bathroom statement because I'm in the office sitting on my butt while she's doing hard physical labor. Is there any way I can ask her to hold it or at least light a match without coming across as a total jerk?

—Holding My Nose and Scratching My Head


Dear Holding,
No, there’s no way to tell your cleaning woman that after a day of scrubbing your toilets she’s to seal her bowels and halt the peristalsis until she gets home. If you look up “foul smelling stools,” you will see that it’s possible your housekeeper suffers from any number of medical conditions. I think that her behavior is not some rear guard action, but an act of desperation. She’s in agony all day trying to hold it in because you’re home. Finally, her work is done and she can dump and run. You’d come off like a turd if you actually took her to task for this. In the end, you have to ameliorate her parting gift, so check out this Amazon page of top-rated air fresheners and find one that means you don’t have to endure her ordure.


More Dear Prudence Columns

A View to a Thrill: Neighbor boys peep at my scantily clad daughters. Should I have them cover up?” Posted June 30, 2011.
Loving Thy Neighbor: I have sex with the couple next door. Should I tell my kids about it?” Posted June 23, 2011.

Fatherly Advice: Dear Prudence advises a dad whose wife fears he'll abandon the family in favor of his long-lost daughter—and other Father's Day advice seekers.” Posted June 16, 2011.
Businessman on the Road to Ruin: My wife doesn't know I visit strip bars and porn theaters while away on business. But that's not cheating, right?” Posted June 9, 2011.

More Dear Prudence Chat Transcripts

All Dogs Go to Heaven: Dear Prudence advises a dying husband on whether to confess his infidelity—during a live chat at” Posted June 27, 2011.
Sloppy Stay-at-Home Mom: Prudie advises a man whose wife is great at everything except keeping the house neat—in a live chat at” Posted June 13, 2011.
The 40-Year-Old Mean Girl: Prudie advises a former bully whose kids are being mistreated by her victim's children—in a live chat at” Posted June 6, 2011.
The Accused: A young neighbor's unfounded claims put my family in danger. Should we allow the girl back into our lives?” Posted June 2, 2011.

Emily Yoffe is a contributing editor at the Atlantic.